Climate change is a natural process on Earth, any mammoth or dinosaur would be able to tell you, but the rate at which it is happening right now is not natural. If you think of a process that your body goes through when a mosquito bites you; you have an itchy bite, a little red bump for a few days and eventually it goes away. It is a natural process if left alone. But we don’t leave it alone; in fact, humans have a reputation for developing, changing, growing, and getting involved in things when sometimes things should just be left alone. So we itch, we scratch, we infect. The bite itch turns red in anger and develops into something much more serious than it should have been.
The year 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, the year when new species continue to be found, but there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild. Here in Africa our trademark beast, king of the jungle, the lion is now an endangered species, with experts predicting its extinction in 20 years. These are events that occur in our life.
According to the Living Planet report in 2007, only humans used 2 planets in resources. We already exceed our planet’s biocapacity by 50% in 2007 and the carbon footprint has increased 11-fold since 1961. 71 countries are under stress on blue water sources and here in South Africa we are already anticipating problems water scarcity and some rural areas and small towns are already experiencing it.
According to the ripple effect, the loss of biodiversity impacts ecosystems, causing damage, degradation and ultimately resulting in complete collapse. Threats of habitat loss, alteration and fragmentation, overexploitation of wildlife populations, pollution, climate change and invasive species in turn destroy the services that ecosystems provide free to humans; services regulating natural processes, such as water filtration, waste decomposition, climate regulation and crop pollination. Services such as support for the regulation of basic ecological functions and processes, eg nutrient cycling, photosynthesis and soil formation.
“Fundamentally, the dependence of human society on ecosystem services makes the loss of these services a serious threat to the future well-being and development of all people around the world” – Living Planet Report; 2010.
Globally, biodiversity has declined by 30%. Some examples of individual species include the bluefin tuna, a fish made famous not only for its tuna salad and pasta, but also by the recent threat to its breeding ground caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of BP earlier. this year, its population decreased by 5.8%. Another example is the leatherback turtle, another species affected by the Gulf of BP oil spill, which declined by 20.5%.
In the biogeographical areas of the report, South Africa is part of “Afrotropical” which shows signs of recovery since the 1990s when the Living Planet Index was at minus 55%. The statistics differ for each country because in America and the United Arab Emirates 4.5 planets are needed to track carbon emissions and consumption used. In India, they need less than 50% of a planet.
In an attempt to find a “ greener ” fuel by using biofuels, oil palm crops have grown 8-fold in 20 years, converting 7.8 ha by 2010. This land conversion included forests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, the homeland of the Orangutan. Their population has increased tenfold in two species due to deforestation and habitat degradation.
However, the report says that all is not lost. The minimum sustainability criteria based on the available biocapacity of the planet and the Human Development Index “indicate that it is in fact possible for countries to meet these criteria, although major challenges remain for all countries. “.
The minimalist motorcycle approach to “Less is more” architecture is needed not only in architecture and art, but also of the individual, of nations and of the world. The balance has to change us to get everything and nothing for nature, for nature to get more, more in protected areas, more in conservation, more in investments to recover the damage that has been created over the years and us to get less and instead use the resources we have already captured.
Policies need to be put in place, renewable energies need to be improved and implemented, and sustainable developments in sectors such as agriculture, mining and fishing need to grow.
Humans can “itch, itch and infect,” but we also have the ability to learn from past events and use our skills to create healing ointments.